Dónal Óg Cusack says that a tiered structure has helped hurling and he believes that it would have a positive impact on football too.

There is currently a debate taking place about the introduction of a second tier in the football championship, with two subtly different models set to be voted on at a Special GAA Congress later this year.

GAA President John Horan believes there is an appetite for change, though there has been plenty of criticism of the proposals.

Speaking on the latest episode of the RTÉ GAA Podcast, Cusack says that a second tier competition in football makes sense.

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"I would always be for the tiered competition," said the former Cork hurling goalkeeper. "You don't have all the clubs playing in the one competition and that’s because some clubs are better than others and you have promotion and relegation.

"Look at all the enjoyment and the feeling of satisfaction that the hurlers from Meath and Laois have gotten over the last while with victory at the end of the year. It makes absolute sense to me to go down the tiered route."

Also speaking on the RTÉ GAA Podcast, Colm Cooper agreed that a second tier is worth trying out, saying that ultimately it is the players’ voices that should be listened to.

"I’m certainly willing to try a two tiered championship. Why are we doing it? Because we feel teams are out of their depth, they're getting serious beatings and it's not good for them." he remarked.

Dónal Óg Cusack

"If I was from Carlow, Louth, Leitrim I’d be asking myself what are the prospects for me in this championship. Is it to go out and get a 20-point hiding off Mayo, Galway or Dublin? That’s the big question there for the GAA – what prospects are there for the players?

"We talk about the league being the most competitive and enjoyable competition and the reason for that is teams are playing at their own level."

Cusack is currently Gaelic Players’ Association President, having previously been the body’s long-serving chairperson, and he says the attitude amongst inter-county footballers is changing.

"From a players’ point of view, I always felt that there needed to be a tiered approach to the game because players were training so hard and then they were coming up against an inevitable beating at the end of the year," he said.

"But there was always historically a big push against that in football. In 2016, players from Division 3 and 4 voted unanimously to boycott a proposed B championship. What I will say though is, things have been changing over the last number of years.

"From talking to players and reading surveys, there is more of a trend towards players favouring that tiered competition. At the end of last year there was a survey where over 60% of players surveyed told us that they would support the change to a tiered football championship."